One of the most remarkable manuscripts to survive from the early Middle Ages inEurope, the Book of Kells was probably painted around 800 in a monastery at Iona inScotland or Kells in Ireland, or perhaps in both places. Extraordinarily inventive andintricate imagery accompanies the texts of the four Gospels: full-page depictions ofEvangelists and their symbols, lavish honorific openings to the Gospels, extraordinaryinitials, and decoration that combines complex interlace, animals, and human figures.This newly photographed book explores the Book of Kells through its historicalbackground; a display of the elements of the book at their actual size; the spectacularopenings of the texts that precede the Gospels; a study of earlier and comparablemanuscripts; detailed examination of symbols and themes, with special enlargeddetails; a look at the scribes and artists who worked on the manuscript; and aconsideration of technical aspects, illuminated by recent scientific research.The rich illustrations feature more than fifty full-size reproductions of completepages of the manuscript plus enlarged details that allow one to relish the intricacyof elements barely visible to the naked eye. Supplementary images place themanuscript in its setting and provide comparisons for its iconography and style.
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